When it comes to buying groceries, products, or services for your family, you want to avoid wasting money.
However, sometimes there’s an illusion of something saving us money, but it’s actually costing us more in the long run. Crazy, right?
But you can avoid that trap by thinking ahead and being observant. Here are 6 ways you’re wasting money while you’re trying to save it.
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Don’t get me wrong, there are some items that are legitimately cheaper in bulk.
But this depends on the store, the brand, and the individual item.
I have personally found that bulk food stores in my area will often have the best prices for buying certain name brands in bulk. So for any name brands you always buy, this may be the best option.
But you can often get smaller amounts of generic brands for a better price per pound/unit.
And when it comes to canned vegetables, the bigger can is sometimes (but not always) more expensive per ounce than the regular-sized ones, so it’s always good to compare and check.
Do you see a great sale on produce?
It makes sense to stock up…IF you will use the amount you stock up on.
So if you see a great sale on oranges and you decide to buy 5 bags, make sure you will use them all, or properly freeze them in order to use them all, before they go bad.
Did you ever sign up for something that’s a great deal temporarily- or maybe even free for a while? But then what happens?
The free trial ends or low introductory rate expires, and you end up paying full price after you’ve grown accustomed to using and enjoying the product or service.
That’s not always a bad thing. Some services or products are still a great deal at full price, they may offer amazing quality even when the cost goes up, and/or you may find using them completely necessary.
For example, we had signed up for a free trial for Amazon Prime awhile ago, but we kept it active for over a year because there are a lot of benefits to it. And even paying for it saved us money in other areas, like on shipping for some online orders.
So I’m not saying you should automatically cancel things after a free trial or if the price goes up.
But you would be wise to take a look around at competitors’ prices and products to consider if you could switch to something more budget-friendly without sacrificing quality. Or eliminate the expense altogether if it’s something you can live without.
Don’t be fooled! Sometimes using coupons can cost you more money.
For example, one of the stores I sometimes shop at was offering a coupon for $1 off of 2 containers of name-brand almond milk, and I normally buy at least 2 containers of almond milk at Aldi’s when I shop there.
So that seems like it would be a good deal to get the name brand from this other store, right? Wrong.
I calculated and it would cost me about $1 or so more to buy 2 containers of the name brand even with a coupon for $1 off, than if I just stuck with my normal almond milk at Aldi’s (which is also organic, by the way.)
So this is why it’s important to calculate if coupons will actually save you money.
If you are going to buy a specific brand-name item regardless, then by all means, you should definitely use a coupon if you have it.
I’m all for buying generic when it doesn’t sacrifice quality. But there are still a few name-brand items I buy either because there is no generic version, or the generic isn’t as good quality.
Sometimes you see a coupon and you realize it’s a good deal, but it’s not a good deal you need.
For example, I saw a coupon in one of the weekly ads that was an amazing deal on a soft drink. But I personally don’t buy pop for the house, so it just would’ve been a waste of money had I used the coupon.
Now if someone normally has soda on their grocery list, this would be a good deal for them, but for me it wasn’t, because it would’ve meant I spent more money shopping than I set out to spend.
Have you seen coupons that give you dollar amount off of multiples of a certain type of skin care or beauty product?
But are you going to be able to use all of these items within a reasonable time-frame? If yes, then it may be a good deal for you.
But if it’s likely you aren’t going to get to an 2 extra bottles of face cream for another 2 years, you may want to pass. And keep in mind that just because something is not a food item, doesn’t mean it will last forever.
Or maybe you’ve seen certain fruits or vegetables that are priced way lower than normal, but then you look at them and they’re starting to mold or go bad. Paying attention to the quality of what you purchase and being reasonable about if you can actually use it (while it’s still edible,) is important.
When it comes to buying food, it can be helpful to use simple meal planning strategies which will prevent you from wasting money on food you don’t need or won’t use.
You can use our Free Printable Flavorful Meal Plan Guide to save money and time when you plan meals & go grocery shopping.
So those are 6 ways you may actually be wasting money when you’re trying to save it.
By choosing the right items to buy in bulk, making sure you can use what you buy before it goes bad, only keeping services worth their full price, making sure discounted items last until you can fully use them, and being careful how you use coupons, you can avoid wasting money unnecessarily.
P.S. Before you go, don’t forget to download our Free Printable Flavorful Meal Plan Guide so you don’t waste money on food.
Have a great day and thanks for reading!